A Spoonful of Spice

Recipes for low-sugar living + treats for special occasions

Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese is nostalgic and rich. In many ways, it symbolizes home and family, and the pleasure of simple food. It's not hard to see why this widely beloved dish brings people together, inspires storytelling, and lulls us into a satisfied stupor. And so, this is the perfect side dish to share with friends and family on Thanksgiving. 

Share and Enjoy!



1/2 pound penne

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 cup buttermilk, warmed

1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed

1/2 cup whole milk, warmed

4 ounces cheddar, grated

2 ounces freshly grated parmesan 

2 ounces Gruyere, grated

1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. dry mustard powder

4 sprigs of thyme

Salt and pepper to taste


1/4 cup panko

2 tbsp. shredded parmesan

1 tbsp. dried parsley 

salt and pepper, to taste


  • Cook pasta, al dente; then, submerge in an ice bath to stop cooking
  • Thinly slice 2 shallots into half-moons
  • Smash and mince 2 cloves of garlic
  • Use a scale to measure out the grated cheeses
  • Combine buttermilk, cream, and milk


  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large pot

  2. Add shallots to the melted butter, and cook over low heat for 7-10 minutes, until soft and brown. 

  3. Add garlic and flour, and whisk for 1 minute, until it begins to bubble and grows in volume. 
  4. Increase heat to medium, and slowly whisk in the warmed cream mixture. Add the thyme sprigs. Bring the mixture to a boil; then, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cheese mixture 1/2 cup (or handful) at time to the sauce and stir until the cheese has melted before adding the next handful. 
  6. Mix in the nutmeg and mustard powder.
  7. Add cooled and drained pasta to the sauce and stir to coat.
  8. Season with salt and pepper, and taste to ensure proper seasoning.
  9. Transfer pasta into a buttered casserole dish, and sprinkle the topping over the top of the pasta. 
  10. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.  

*Adapted from Marcus Samuelsson's Marcus Off Duty